I absolutely love this, and it leaves me wondering about the role of social in the sabbath. This post mentions early, “Most want more social events, but coordination is hard and events are work. Now there’s always Friday night,” but the subject does not come up again. And yet with regard to the historical referent, sociality is baked deeply into the sabbath. For the orthodox version, the minyan rule (plus the no driving rule) requires that people live close together and that they see each other once a week.
On the one hand, community has the potential to enhance the sabbath from the perspective of this article, which is sabbath as slack and relaxation. A social element in the weekly ritual naturally enforces regular adherence, since people must provide explanation if absent. Other people also tend to flag deviance and reinforce norms, reducing the cognitive burden of self-enforcement e.g. to a no-social-media rule.
From Ben’s perspective, i.e. Sabbath as an alarm system, social has added benefits. Conversation with trusted and familiar people can help identification and diagnosis of challenges of all kinds; e.g., other people can sometimes notice the depth of our stress we see it ourselves. Though I don’t know them all, there are countless other benefits of social networks for well-being. So if the sabbath is about well-being, it should be about social.
On the other hand, there are also unique benefits to isolation. If the sabbath is strictly about slack and relaxation, then social may play no role for some/many people. This conundrum, though, also highlights an interesting design feature of orthodox sabbath; Friday night may be a personal or family affair, and socialization is only enforced on Saturdays. My modern take is a quiet Saturday night and a shared Sunday Brunch.